Breakdown and Forecast for Hayden Hurst and Calvin Ridley’s Fifth Year Options
Teams are due to exercise the players’ fifth-year options, which were first-round picks, within a week of today – May 3. We’ve seen teams like the Browns exercise options on Baker Mayfield and Denzel Ward before, two obvious picks to hold onto for an extra season. With the Falcons, their situation is a little different. I don’t think they will, or should, announce their fifth year option decisions until the end of the project; in doing so, they could risk tipping their hand and forecasting their plans with the fourth pick overall.
With Kyle Pitts likely to be on the set, I think he’s the right fit for the Falcons, and that shouldn’t affect their decision on Hurst. However, patience is a virtue, and there is no rush to make an announcement. Keep in mind; these options do not affect the salary table for 2021; the hits are for 2022, as both Hurst and Ridley were drafted in the first round of 2018.
Let me go ahead and save my breath here; Terry Fontenot will undoubtedly exercise Calvin Ridley’s fifth-year option unless an overtime is in place. He’s already expressed interest in signing an extension on Twitter, and one has to imagine that even with a new regime, that interest is mutual. Typically, a timeline is used for early predictions, but the Calvin Ridley number falls below the “playing time” chart via OverTheCap:
Break: These players will be eligible for a fifth-year base salary calculated from the average of the 3rd to 20th highest salaries in their position over the past five seasons, provided their instantaneous numbers in their first three seasons satisfy. one of the following three criteria:
- 75% or more in two of their first three seasons
- an average of 75% or more over the three seasons
- 50% or more over the three seasons
If Calvin Ridley had a Pro Bowl, his fifth-year option would cost the Falcons $ 14,340,000 in 2022. Get snubbed the Pro Bowl, hoLater, his milestone will cost Atlanta $ 11,116,000 in 2022 – if he plays on a fifth-year option. That’s reasonable enough for Ridley, but I doubt it will be extended now with a new regime in place. As a fan, I would like this to be done as quickly as possible.
This is where things get complicated. Like I mentioned, even with Kyle Pitts maybe in the fold, I think the Falcons should definitely exercise Hurst’s fifth-year option. Arthur Smith loves to use a ton of tight ends, and right now Lee Smith, Jaeden Graham, and Ryan Becker are the only options outside of Hurst on the roster. Jaeden Graham could develop as a vertical threat; Lee Smith will serve primarily as a blocker, and I imagine Becker will do the same if he’s on the squad. The position has no long-term answer.
According to Warren Sharp, since the NFLPA and NFL introduced the fifth-year option in 2011, no tight end has ever seen their fifth-year option turned down. It should be noted that only a handful have been selected since then, but Hurst could potentially break that streak. I don’t see it happening. Since he served largely as a reserve in Baltimore, Hurst doesn’t get the same “playtime” destination Ridley would get.
Basic: Players who do not meet any of the requirements below will be eligible for a fifth year base salary calculated from the average of the 3rd to 25th highest salaries in their position over the past five seasons.
If Hurst had met this requirement, his fifth year option would cost only $ 6,021,000. With Hurst only gets the base destination, its ceiling reached for 2022 would be $ 5,428,000 if the option is chosen. Even though Hurst isn’t a very good tackle, I think his advantage is certainly worth that cost, especially considering the Falcons gave up a second-round pick for him and Arthur Smith has a great record to shoot the make the most of her tight ends.
I could see the Falcons weren’t guaranteeing his fifth year, but I think for the price with the salary cap set to rise – it’s an easy decision to bring him back for 2022 with a bargain. He could really make waves in 2021 under Arthur Smith and earn himself an overtime, even if Kyle Pitts is a Falcon on Thursday.